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Lester Lake

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For the Scottish performer, see Harry Marvello (1879-1967).
Lester Lake
BornLester D. Lake
July 28, 1904
New Trenton, Indiana
DiedAugust 26, 1977 (age 73)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Resting placeIndiana

Lester Lake (1904-1977), who performed as The Great Marvello, was a professional magician, inventor of magic effects and accomplished photographer.


A boyhood friend of John Calvert, he began his career in 1927 on a riverboat that traveled the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers. He appeared in nightclubs, theaters and amusement parks.

He was associated with Abbott's Magic Co. in Colon, Michigan (which he declared the "magic capital of the world" in 1934). While there he devised effects for Blackstone, Houdini, and Thurston.

In the 1940s he presented a Spook Show and during WWII, he traveled throughout Europe, North Africa, and the South Pacific with a USO show.

Lake was a permanent guest on the TV show "You Asked For It" in the 1950s. [1]

He was the first to produce the modern guillotine and wrist chopper illusions which he worked on with Percy Abbott.

Another of his illusions was "Buried In Flames" (aka Burned Alive) in which he was buried alive in a coffin into which five gallons of gasoline had been poured and ignited.[2]


  1. Obit, Linking Ring, November 1977
  2. Obit, MUM, November 1977